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tv   BBC Newsnight  PBS  April 30, 2011 12:00pm-12:30pm PDT

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>> this is bbc newsnight. funding for this rpesentation -- presentation is made t newman's own foundation. the macarthur foundation and union bank. >> union bank ahas put is
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global expertise to a wide range of companies. what can we do for you? >> is the that -- diastase going back from intervening in the middle east? this week, as the syrian protests get more bloody, what appetite is there to get more involved in the arab issues? >> there is a willingness for the obama administration to be seen as very stressed with a lot of issues. >> we talk about the limits of intervention in the middle east. the united states has gone to yemen, and will they crack down on their own people will will
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they seek a better way? william and kate finally were married at westminster abbey. but not everyone was a welcome visitor. did the palace get the right guest list? -- list? involvement in the arab world is not simply based on political will, or what president obama described as answering the call of the oppressed people. but the reality of the u.s. deficit. the department of the new defense -- there was the long- term goal of taking $400 billion in cuts. what will be the nature of america's engagement? and our wheat looking at the beginning of the end of u.s. intervention?
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>> they are changing the guard at the pentagon. robert gates was skeptical of further action in the middle east. whenever he thinks about the arab spring, he sees a deep cut to the military and their capabilities. >> we make the hard decisions that are needed to reduce the debt of america. we cannot compromise the ability to defend our nation around the world. >> the issues about where the united states may use intervention again in the middle east is multi-dimensional. the crisis is multiplying and a question about whether each case is suitable is very different. >> it is understood that there are distinct limitations on what the west can do now in the arab
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world. if they are military or diplomatic or economic. it may turn out that khadafi may be involved in attracting direct military intervention. >> the desire to limit military commitment has been shown in libya. after the initial attack, they scaled back. the rest of nato cannot match this. >> i am concerned that the united states is showing reluctance till -- use of the efforts at its disposal. when you are trying to correct -- protect civilians with air power, the americans have the precision missiles that no other country has, with the best prospect of destroying his
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military without endangering civilians in this area. i think the americans have become -- cannot be too reluctant to allow the unique assets that they have, to be properly utilized. togreat britain's ability deploy air power is now severely limited by the need to maintain the libyan operation. the coalition now stresses a host of reasons why they are not going to take similar action in syria and elsewhere. >> there is a high bar to military engagement and it involves genocide and the grave and systematic war crimes, it appeared that gadaffi was prepared to commit this and it kept them from carrying out this
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resolution. we have not seen that magnitude of violence in other countries and we hope that we will not. >> diplomacy is the favored solution to the challenges in the arab world. this means being reactive and watching from the sidelines and offering help to those trying to consolidate their revolution. >> this is a question of military intervention. what these countries really need -- to get rid of these dictators is help in building a civic society. the reform process does not mean having an election for several political parties. and if democracy and the rule of law will and that itself in egypt and yemen and elsewhere, these countries need to have helped and this is something that the west can really provide.
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>> in places like this where the conservative regimes with close ties to the west have cracked down on protests, there have been harsh diplomatic words -- words but little else. the decision to send forces to help the crackdown sharpened the dilemma over what line to take. >> having to deal with saudi arabia is part of the capacity to absorb the full impact of what is happening in the region. the regime is not immune to this, and this is part of the problem as well as syria and libya. and egypt. and some of the developed countries. the western approach is confused because of the capacity to comprehend the long-term impact of what is happening.
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>> the politics of intervention are the most tricky puzzle. many egyptian protesters said that did not want help from the outside, and others consider that the u.s. requirement to withdraw support from the old regime is vital. reform may be all that the west can offer as change sweeps the middle east. >> this is a good thing. people are demanding their basic rights and governments are responding appropriately. we would be crazy to suddenly expect a stable, liberal democracy to break out across the middle east. we have to be engaged and prepared for a variety of different results. >> the option in libya may prove to the only solution of its kind. but the unpredictability of the arab spring -- brings in new
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choices about intervention. >> i spoke with an american political scientist, first of all, it seems that -- in these briefings, one of them has to do with the deficit. the other is the uneasy feeling about the united states becoming involved in different scenarios. many of them witnessed by the fact that the air power has been reduced in libya. i would be witnessing this. >> talking about the international stuff, the troops in afghanistan, this is what is happening in libya. there is a pullback in terms of the obama administration -- to be engaged and seen as already a very stressful issue, being first and foremost with foreign
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policy. they want other countries to be doing the driving. the united states needs to be the next option. >> do you see this as a march to the top of the hill? >> it has been the case -- that america has been forced to the military heavy lifting. if you are going to be involved in the mission, it should have equal responsibility. >> without the american firepower, there is much less headway that is being used. >> this is what you get if you keep cutting the defense budgets. you cannot do the things that you want to do. you cannot intervene when you would like to intervene, even if you would really like to. >> the un mandate was very clear on libya. but now they say with what is
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actually happening -- is this a good idea. >> this is not a good idea, anywhere. what is happening is that the united states and their allies in the west are going into countries in the middle east, iraq is a catastrophic example. we are not able to have any firing power, -- >> without the end game, we may repeat the mistakes of the rack. >> this is not the answer because this destroyed the country in the wake of this invasion. >> what do you think? the decapitation, if we talk about syria. >> the decapitation or not the problem.
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the problem was the aftermath of them. the thing in any intervention like this, we have to decide what we want to achieve. in the case like libya, the one thing that is desirable, is the ending of the regime of qadaffi. >> there are real concerns about the fear in syria. do you think that there would be any intervention in syria, with the un mandate. >> the only reason that you have a mandate on libya is because this is a mockery of north africa, hated by the saudi arabian sand iran. only israel manages this and they have nuclear missiles. only after the arab league told us to bomb them, the french set
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to go ahead and do this. this is when the united states finally went in. this is the exception that proves the rule and shows how far the bar has come for actual military intervention. >> this is never a good idea. >> this is a conundrum. one part of the problem is that the dictators, they have been brought in from the cold, and they have been received in the western capitals over the last few years. this is for whenever cynical reasons. >> it is cynical to try to give him up his program. this was not cynical. >> what is the practical thing that you do then? in his natural -- national
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interest is this? aside from syria, this is a terror funding state. this provides a sanctum for hezbollah, and destabilize the region. >> how do you know this? >> if the people rise up and the dictator of guns down as many people as possible, you have to make a decision. if you think that this dictator is good to keep. it would be good to lose them. >> thank you very much. one part of the arab world where the u.s. has been involved is the republic of yemen. they have earned the country's reputation as a haven for the islamic militants. the third year old rule of
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america's allies has been threatened by the protests. he promised not to extend his rule beyond 2013, but the -- he is not trusted. and they are losing patience with the president. we managed to get into yemen to bring this report. >> for the united states, this country is all about the war on terror. the partner in yemen is in trouble. >> i am not going back to my tribe. go out. >> the president is holding on.
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the outcry is proving stronger expected.united states i both are dealing with a new force. the people. >> the stretches for miles and miles. all this began as a sit-in by a few students. representatives from all districts of yemen -- they are here. saleh said that this would never happen here. he said his country and would fight each other, and that this would end in chaos. protesters say that this proves that they can be organized and disciplined. >> this chicken symbolizes
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yemen, and he says, we will merge this like the revolution. >> the president has fought back. this is his latest crackdown. a demonstrator was shot here, and at least one dozen were killed. 150 people have died across the country. hong >> they are killing the people. >> he has been here from the beginning. he has had his friends killed, the marchers to the cost. -- cause. >> other people do these revolutions. >> yemen is very dangerous. this may fall apart. in the west, they are scared of yemen. >> they do not know what is
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happening. >> like everyone here, they accuse the president of threatening the threat of -- of exaggerating the threat of al qaeda. >> because al qaeda, we do not see this. >> the president says that al qaeda has infiltrated the camp and extremists are willing to take over. this is feeding into the fear that has been shaping the policy on yemen. >> the concern is that al qaeda will succeed in establishing safe havens in yemen similar to the ones that they established in afghanistan before 911 -- before 9/11.
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and i encountering al qaeda -- we will be faced with increasing threats from al qaeda, based on this. >> for the people live here, this is not al qaeda that is the problem. this is corruption and poverty. these are the reasons why tens of thousands have been raiding a police brutality. their determination has already changed this country. this has raised some serious questions about what wall street has said in yemen. hundreds of millions of dollars have been spent on training. this is under the command of saleh's sons and nephews. the u.s. had airstrikes that killed more civilians than
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terrorists. and al qaeda show that they were capable of attacking the united states when the so-called "underpants bomber" tried to blow plan up over detroit. critics say that u.s. strategy has simply been counterproductive. and that president -- the president exploited american fear. >> they promised more and more assistance. >> they see that terrorism is in -- is a very profitable business. >> what should they have done? >> the regime would love to fight al qaeda and terrorism -- we have a huge army and huge
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security forces. we do not need any more of this. we need to have more schools and hospitals. >> many people are disappointed that president obama has been cautious about supporting the uprising in yemen. washington is now supporting a proposed deal, which would gradually transferred power to the opposition. but protesters want for saleh to go now. >> it is clear that the united states -- they do not want him in power. they do like him and they appreciate what he has done for them in terms of cooperation and allowing united states to do what they want. but they realize now that he is a liability. they were slow to realize this. but now they believe that he is
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causing greater instability than stability and they would like for him to leave. >> there is a level of outrage against america that is very high. we say, stand back and let the new system it with extremism and terrorism in their own way, which will probably be more successful. >> partly the result of the u.s. policy in yemen, the government to emerge out of this stalemate is likely to be more of islamic and less accommodating to the united states interests. >> after months of buildup, prince william and kate middleton were married on friday. there were nearly 2000 guests at westminster abbey.
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one person who was not there was the ambassador from syria. he found himself uninvited have -- as this government continues to crack down. this has raised the ire of campaigners. gordon brown and tony blair course not. did they get the right guest list? reporting is british politic gordonn mcshane and bryon. >> when charles and diana were married, there were five former prime minister is alive, and they were all invited. i think that the culture is not there. david cameron said he would block brown as the imf job if he
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it was vacant. a very personalized. he didn't do this to jim callahan. if you don't like the government you replace. >> you say prince william is listening to cameron/ >> 1900 people came. this is a geopolitical state occassion. the government is up to its ears. >> where did the guest list come from? >> this is from the palace, with advice from the government. i would like to think that there were not invited was because it took us into an illegal war in iraq. but this is probably not the case. >> what is the reason? >> we have a story -- i cannot
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take it beyond that. >> and what are the personal aspects of this? going to the death -- >> this is more probable than the iraq war? this is more serious. >> i could say that this could be construed as something, there are likely allusions made to him in the book. >> i suppose this is possible, if there is something there -- i suppose that this is conceivable. >> there was the this inviting of the ambassador. they would signal this if they were disinvited, and this is a shame to the nation if they are not invited. should he be coming? >> i have said this
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consistently, we how the horrible story of the secret court sentencing people to death. we do not have is an analysis of the profound revolution taking place, and what happened overnight -- this marriage is sort of segued into a huge revolution. >> in a sense, this has become mired in this business. and when you are conducting a guest list in a time of such difficulty in the world, you have to make decisions on ethical foreign policy? >> i think that this was about right. the culture that they used about syria, this was a reasonable way to send a message to syria. the ambassador has been lectured by the prime minister's
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about what we think about their policy. the rest of this is that this is dismissive to the syrians. >> that is all for this week. from all of us, could buy. -- goodbye. >> hello, and welcome. >> get the top stories from across the globe. go to to see the reporting of bbc world news online. >> funding is made possible by the freeman foundation of stowe vermont. the newman's own foundation. the mccarthur foundation and union bank. ♪ >> union bank has put its
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financial strength to a wide range of companies. what can we do for you? >> bbc newsnight presented by kcet, los angeles.
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